The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
Sacred Texts
  ~000 Introduction
  ~001 Arrival at Caelian Hill
  ~002 Life at the Paedagogium
  ~003 Monsters and Heroes
  ~004 The Private Baths
  ~005 The Soaps of Cyprias
  ~006 The Treachery of Gryllus
  ~007 Assurances and Endurances
  ~008 The Demise of Trenus
  ~009 The Surprise Inspection
  ~010 Little Donkey
  ~011 Whispering Hope
  ~012 Epigrams for Antinous
  ~013 Books from Maltinus
  ~014 Little Signals
  ~015 Promotion
  ~016 Juvenalis IX
  ~017 A Frothy Idea
  ~018 Evening on the Riverbank
  ~019 Across the Leagues
  ~020 Unprecedented Access
  ~021 Winged Mercury
  ~022 Dinner Guest
  ~023 Causes of Nausea
  ~024 New Pupil
  ~025 Wax, Soap, and Wool
  ~026 Four Daughters
  ~027 Vitalis Atones
  ~028 Futures and Histories...
  ~029 The Triumph of Desire
  ~030 An Image of Antinous
  ~031 The Ride From Rome
  ~032 The Villa at Tibur
  ~033 The Ride To Rome
  ~034 Praeconina
  ~035 Foolish Carisius
  ~036 The Christian Texts
  ~037 Married Pleasures
  ~038 In Tibur, Alone
  ~039 The End of Corinthus
  ~040 Turning Tables
  ~041 A History & Fantasy...
  ~042 A Sad Collection
  ~043 Rafts in a Raging Sea
  ~044 Rome, Home and History
  ~045 A Caravan of Monologue
  ~046 On Favorinus
  ~047 The Flesh of a Metaphor
  ~048 Disquieting Thoughts
  ~049 Purple Reign
  ~050 The Heart of Numidia
  ~051 Stables of the Palatine
  ~052 Hadrian's Deprivation
  ~053 Transcripts and Categories
  ~054 In the Wake of a Paradox
  ~055 Father of the Country
  ~056 The First Night with Hadrian
  ~057 A Place in the World
  ~058 Hard Resolution
  ~059 Announcements...
  ~060 Keeping Company
  ~061 The Stallions' Ride
  ~062 The Tour Begins
  ~063 On the Isthmus
  ~064 On Grief
  ~065 The Eleusian Mysteries
  ~066 A Playful Wager
  ~067 The Delights of Athens
  ~068 On Receiving
  ~069 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~070 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

Monsters and Heroes


School continues apace. I shall not bore you with the lessons as they are learned to me for why should you care? Of far greater interest are the events that transpire in the hours outside of class. ‘Tis then when the monsters emerge from the forest to assail me and also when the heroes take up their arms in my defense.

Gryllus is a monster. He is generally known now among the other students to favour me and his favour is a bane for it incites the others to envy. That Gryllus had a hand in choosing for their beauty each of the boys within the school’s walls bestows on him a quality not unlike that of Paris. Thus do a great many of the lads, like the trio of goddesses that to the Trojan’s judgement submitted, deem the preference of Gryllus to represent the very pinnacle of beauty among a beauteous elite. That his eye falls endlessly upon me is more than enough to raise their ire, and lo, the sky doth fall and the siege of Troy ensues! I know you are laughing at that and calling me Helen. But be merciful, friend, for hardly am I his willing wife and would sooner sit serenely with Trenus casting stones upon the water whilst practicing elocution.

With Trenus I am at ease and for that he is a hero. We speak often, and often in our lengthy silence may speak as much, for we have arrived at a friendship not unlike the kind that was shared ‘twixt you and I. But there lacks in Trenus an aspect of what was Lysicles, and that is his willingness to exchange what pleasures will come from the touch. I have told you already of his strange religion, and from its confusing laws he concludes that the flesh is an unholy thing. Therefore to him I may only commune with the mind, whereas with you I shared in both mind and body. Be not jealous of him then, for so long as he maintains his ways he is lesser in my esteem than you. He tried once to speak to me of his cult and to tell me of the Annointed One who died that I may live forever. I was polite with him and listened patiently but declined to be taken unto his god for I am happy with the gods I know and hardly in need of others. But I asked him once how he should become a court page if his religion forbids him from being for his master what his master shall make of his flesh. To this he replied that he shall endure such occasions as a necessary condition of his rank, and shall certainly not be seen to seek it. This implied to me that I indeed do seek it, and I was offended for his answer for he knew by then quite well that I was not happy to be what I was for Gryllus. We were for a time on the outs with each other, but our resulting isolation was too much to bear and quickly we reconciled. Trenus made good apology for his remark, and I promised him I would accept his religion without further question.

I shall recount a tale I heard whilst in the clutches of the monster Gryllus. I had been called aside under the pretense of official business for the Paedagogiarch (which of course fooled no one) and was taken by him to a lavish room at the back of the estate where Gryllus awaited me. This was our customary locale. When he saw me he smiled happily and pulled me into an embrace. I asked of him, “Why do you favour me?” and he but laughed. So I asked him again, “Why do you favour me?” and now he looked at me more closely. “Do you not thrive on the favour of your elders?” he asked. Do you see how he replied with a question of his own and thus attempted to deflect my curiosity? Such were the very lessons we were learning in class and so I was quick to perceive it and did not let him escape my scrutiny. I pressed him even further: “Why did you choose Antinous?” And he merely laughed again. The swine! I stared at him evenly until his laughter subsided and he knew I would demand from him an answer. He thought hard and searched his memory. This is what he said:

Patterns in the Economy of Roman Asia Minor“Epolonius was the magistrate in charge of public works at Claudiopolis. He was known to me and knew of my mission to the palace. He had observed you in the days of rubble, when the city was in chaos and you were swept into the arms of your neighbours to be cared by them. There was a lengthy meeting at which they asked of the elders for an extra income to sustain you, and that was when Epolonius spied you and took note of your beauty and your orphanhood.” (Can you imagine, Lysicles? The very meeting at which we stood together with your mother and father and were paraded before the elders as exemplars of all that was steadfast and true – ‘twas there and then at which my fate was sealed! And to think how the two of us went back to your home in the afterward and convinced ourselves that the gods had ordained us together forever. How wrong we were! How foolish!) Gryllus continued: “Epolonius served me dinner at his home, and we talked for many hours of many things. And I regaled him of the most enduring stories from Rome, where for years it had been bandied about that Trajan had once had a falling out with his upstart nephew over the affections of a beauteous young soldier. ‘Twas the general opinion that Hadrian had risked his very crown if that he persisted, but he persisted nonetheless and did even emerge the victor when Trajan decided it was not worth it to be pursued. We laughed and wondered over that, and I wished aloud that I could see such a face to inspire the desires of those at the highest level, that I might further refine my technique. And that was when Epolonius spoke of a one who could very well inspire such a royal spat again. And the one he spoke of was an orphan boy named Antinous, and I demanded at once to be shown him.”

These were the gears, Lysicles, that turned and so hoisted my face before the eyes of Gryllus. And thus was I taken from you. Therefore if ever you come across the path of Epolonius, be sure to chastise him for me and tell him of the anguish he did cause us. But I am not finished with Gryllus. For in the aftermath of his story I sat silently, remembering the town meeting of which he spoke and remembering too your face and the fraternity we felt for each other. And he to my reverie was callous, for he merely brushed it aside and pulled me into his embrace. He stripped me of my threads and suckled upon my breast, then raised up my arm to inhale from my pits, declaring himself the first to detect their nascent fragrance. Then my groin he inspected, and remarked at the hairs that were there discovered. “You are ripening,” he said to me, “and have but a few short years ere you fall from the tree and wrinkle and rot upon the ground. Thus be it both my duty and honour to enjoy you while still upon the bough.” And then he had me, and left me there to dress myself and come late to my supper, where everyone surely knew where I had been, and Vestinus the Paedagogiarch scolded me publicly for my tardiness and set me to scrubbing the floors when the other boys had retired to bed. While I worked there upon the hard marble, I resolved that if Gryllus was enamoured by my natural odour, I shall do my best to become odourous for him when next he wishes to have me. If that I make myself undesirable, perhaps he shall no longer desire me.

I have told you of my tutor who is named Maltinus. I count him among the heroes of my life, for he alone amid the pompous elders at the school seems capable of extending to me a loving hand. I am certain he knows of the arrangement for Gryllus, yet how shall he oppose the will of Vestinus? As I endure my days, he seems to endure them with me by smiling at me when no smile is called for and delivering to my bed a weekly satchel of figs. I have seen him observing me upon the field when all is sport and games. I have watched him watching me as I defend from Carisius and his band of knaves, or amble with Trenus, or strive without success to be integrated into the activity of other boys. Maltinus must surely know that Carisius is the mastermind of my exclusion, for it is Carisius who with impunity makes alliance with every lad and imposes on them his will to have both myself and the meekly Trenus outcast. If Maltinus does nothing, perhaps it is because he is unable. Or perhaps he tries and meets with failure. Trenus has reported to me that he has seen the monster Vestinus conferring often with Carisius and suspects they are in league together. But does this make any sense? What a strange conspiracy it should be if that self-same Paedagogiarch what gives me to Gryllus doth also give to Carisius good reward for furthering my ostracism.

Can you see why I stated at the outset that there is much of interest in the hours outside of class? The intrigue is palpable, and I should be enraptured by it were it not for the uncomfortable fact that it involved at its centre my own person! Wish for me, Lysicles! Wish hard, and wish me liberated. Until then, I shall wish perpetually for your face in my sight and your fingers upon the small of my spine. A.

The Sacred Antinous is an ongoing work of Historical Fiction, for contemplative and educational purposes.
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